Monday, July 25


The next post will be on Monday August 1.

Best regards to all,

Thursday, July 21

Where there's a will....

Washington's defense/foreign relations policies as seen from outer space

It's amazing what people can do when they set their minds to it. Take the insoluble problem of U.S. dependency on Pakistan for shipping NATO supplies to Afghanistan. Well, I don't know about "NATO" but by the end of this year about 75 percent of supplies for US troops will be shipped to Afghanistan by other routes, and I've seen one estimate that by December zero supplies will be trucked through Pakistan.

Now just see what can happen when the American public starts screaming and yelling, 'Whaddya mean we have to keep tolerating Pakistan's military plotting murder and mayhem against U.S. forces because we need to ship stuff through Pakistan?'

Another demonstration of how creativity blossoms when the will is there to get smart:

Changing the flow of downrange water
New purifiers eliminating need for bottle shipments

By Geoff Ziezulewicz, Matt Millham, Martin Kuz
Stars and Stripes
Published: July 16, 2011

NAPLES, Italy — NATO spends about 50 million euro a year to ship approximately 200 million half-liter bottles of water to NATO bases in Afghanistan, often across long and dangerous supply routes.

Increasingly, those stationed at forward bases are purifying their own water — reducing cost, risk and the need to dispose of those millions of plastic bottles. Some even say the purified water tastes better.

ISAF spokesman Tim James, who provided the statistics on the cost of moving the water, said much of it is shipped from Pakistan via long and dangerous supply routes that have repeatedly faced insurgent attacks.

“There is a significant effort to increase the amount of water sourced from within Afghanistan,” James said in an email.

According to National Defense Magazine, the Marines are using 25 Lightweight Water Purification Systems. Each can fit in a Humvee and pump out 125 gallons of potable water per hour.

The service has 21 Tactical Water Purification Systems in place as well, according to the article, which can filter up to 1,500 gallons an hour.

Marine units are not mandated to use the systems, but are encouraged to do so, Col. Robert J. Charette Jr., head of the commandant’s expeditionary energy office, told National Defense.

“Every time you have to move large amounts of bottled water, we put our Marines at risk,” he said.

According to National Defense, a Marine Corps team tasked with figuring out the full cost of delivering essential supplies to Afghanistan found that hauling water takes up 51 percent of the logistical burden.
If you ask, 'It took these geniuses a decade to figure this out?' -- now, now; remember necessity is the mother of invention. As as long as the public wasn't screaming and yelling about the U.S. need to leave Afghanistan and the need to stop relying on what are clearly arch-enemies for assistance, and wasn't having fits about the defense budget, there wasn't much impetus for the creative juices to flow.

You should read the entire report if you really want to tear out your hair. In one part it mentions that the "U.S. Navy is testing the use of unmanned helicopters to deliver water and other supplies." Why they couldn't have done this years ago? Because the Afghan War was the Forgotten War. Remember?

I started this blog in November 2004 but it wasn't until late 2007 that I began focusing a great deal of attention on Afghanistan. This was so for many Americans. The Americans who warned between the years 2002 and 2007 that a very bad situation was building in Afghanistan were largely ignored. The mainstream media largely ignored Afghanistan during those years, and even though there were many reports published in the press about Afghanistan during those years the reports rarely made it to the front page or the nightly TV news shows.

If you ask, 'Then does this mean we have to do everything?' -- the military must have its secrets, but many of the problems that arose in Afghanistan weren't under the control of the military. They were consequences of NATO-country politics, Washington agendas, including trade agendas, lobbying agendas, and so on. Such activities could and should have been monitored more closely by the public.

From the longest view the course of the Afghan War has been a horrific lesson to Americans that we can never again afford to take our eyes off the ball. I'm not saying it's all our fault -- Americans are, after all, paying a government handsomely to do a job so the tax payers don't have to do everything. However, the U.S. federal government has become a vast maze of interests that are often in competition, leading in many cases to situations that are nothing short of chaotic.

For an example of the chaos, wait'll you read my post titled Yes we have no mangos, which I might publish tomorrow. I've been sitting on the essay for several days because I've been a little worried that Americans who read it will show up at Foggy Bottom with pails of tar and feathers.

Please don't get mad at the U.S. Department of State, just understand that it wants to be different things at the same time. It wants to be a big part of the war effort. It wants to oversee the diplomatic corps. It wants to help U.S. corporations do more business overseas. It wants to do development work in foreign countries -- be a sort of mini-World Bank. And it wants to influence U.S. foreign/defense policies in such a way that the policies last through more than one presidential election.

All laudable goals on their own, to be sure. But as you might imagine sometimes these goals conflict when pursued from within one agency and thus, the mango mess and many other messes.

The simple solution -- I didn't say easy, I said simple -- would be to divest State of some of its goals; e.g., allow the U.S. Department of Commerce to take over the full responsibility for being agent for U.S. business expansion outside the USA. Another solution would be to completely remove USAID from State oversight, which it gained over USAID during the Clinton administration.

The sticking point is that State doesn't want to be divested of anything because that would mean an even smaller budget and it's trying to hang onto the size of its present budget and even increase the amount.

But where there's a will there's a way. Higher salaries for foreign service officers and their bosses, for example -- as long as they promise to hew to the basic duties of a foreign office and stop trying to take on the role of about ten different agencies including the war office.

That kind of solution -- getting certain U.S. agencies to confine their goals -- won't make the maze go away. But it will chop it down to a more manageable size, meaning it will be a little easier for Congress, and the U.S. public, to oversee. That will reduce the chaos in Washington. It just takes the will to implement the solution. Not easy, but doable.

Wednesday, July 20

TWO women -- Wendi Deng Murdoch and Janet Nova -- foiled Parliament pie assailant! This story just keeps getting better! (UPDATED 8:40 PM EDT

The NYT report I feature below says that Janet Nova's actions "may have gone unnoticed in the scuffle and in the media hype that ensued ..."

What media hype? At first the news media ignored the incident because the press wanted to focus on Rupert Murdoch's answers in the hearing. They wanted to see him get a beating in Parliament. But when Wendi leaped up to defend her husband, an act shown round the world on TV, the incident immediately went viral because of Twitter comments. It was the people outside the media establishment who pushed the story into the mainstream, until Google News finally caved in and ran the story at the top of its news page late this afternoon.

By the way Wendi is already a cultural hero among women in China because of her act. It's a runaway story, and now we learn it gets even better.


The first photo I saw of the incident was a very small version of the one above, so I was confused when I learned that Wendi had been wearing pink because a woman in gray seemed to be fending off the attacker. Today the New York Times sorted out the mystery:
Unsung Woman in Gray Blocked Protester First
Published: July 20, 2011

LONDON — The heroics of Wendi Deng Murdoch drew gasps of awe when she lunged out of her seat in a committee room Tuesday to protect her husband, Rupert Murdoch, from a protester [make that a "would-be assailant"] wielding a shaving cream pie.

But there was another woman who actually intervened before Mrs. Murdoch did: Janet Nova, the News Corporation’s interim group general counsel.

It may have gone unnoticed in the scuffle and in the media hype that ensued, but Ms. Nova was the first to react to the [would-be assailant's] approach. She leapt to her feet and, clutching her iPad, tried to block the man’s reach toward her boss. Mrs. Murdoch followed right behind her, and appeared to reach over Ms. Nova as she swung her arm in a great arc to deliver a sharp punch.

Ms. Nova, who is 46 and is based in New York, is a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Law School who has been with the company since 1997. She was one of the troupe of company lawyers and public relationship advisors who prepared Mr. Murdoch for his appearance on Tuesday before a parliamentary committee looking into phone hacking by the company’s British newspapers.

Through more than two hours of questioning Ms. Nova, wearing a gray suit, sat patiently a few feet behind and to the left of Mr. Murdoch. When the [would-be assailant] — identified in British news reports as Jonathan May-Bowles, a comedian who performs under the name Johnnie Marbles — stormed toward the witness table from that side, Ms. Nova provided the first line of defense and Mrs. Murdoch the second, while James Murdoch, Rupert’s 38-year-old son, seemed frozen in surprise in his seat to his father’s right.
Ms. Nova has been in her post for only a month. Rupert Murdoch wrote in a company e-mail announcing her promotion on June 20 that she “has handled a number of major acquisitions for the company over the past several years, in addition to managing our corporate reporting and governance matters.”
Yessirreebob, Janet Nova's actions give new meaning to the legal concept of "zealous defense."

This is an incredible story from the viewpoint of signs and symbols: Two women leaping action while men nearby were still trying to process what was happening. The incident occurring in the British Parliament. And one woman an American and the other Chinese. (Well, I don't know whether Wendi became a naturalized U.S. citizen but she was born and raised in China.) Is this a sign that the U.S. and China are better off cooperating?

Then there is the detail of Janet Nova using her iPad as a defensive weapon. Now THAT would be a great selling point for an ad campaign: No mace on hand when you're attacked? Wield your iPad!

And of course there is the symbolism-laden detail that both women are in their 40s and foiled a man in his 20s. Brave young man, launching a sneak attack on a man in his 80s. He doesn't look so brave here, after Wendi and Janet got finished with him, does he? Talk about getting one's just desserts.

U.S. lawmakers, GOP committee "unknowingly" accept bribes -- er, donations -- from fronts for Pakistan's ISI

The New York Times report, below, is careful to avoid accusing the lawmakers of deliberate wrongdoing but there was never anything preventing the lawmakers from checking whether the lobbyists for Pakistan were legally registered as lobbyists for a foreign country. That kind of checking is easy but it wasn't done, not for decades, even though many of the 'donations' were in large amounts:
Pakistan’s Military Plotted to Tilt U.S. Policy, F.B.I. Says
By Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt
July 19, 2011, published around 11:00 PM EDT
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s military, including its powerful spy agency, has spent $4 million over two decades in a covert attempt to tilt American policy against India’s control of much of Kashmir — including funneling campaign donations to members of Congress and presidential candidates, the F.B.I. claimed in court papers unsealed Tuesday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation made the allegations in a 43-page affidavit filed in connection with the indictment of two United States citizens on charges that they failed to register with the Justice Department as agents of Pakistan, as required by law. One of the men, Zaheer Ahmad, is in Pakistan, but the other, Syed Fai, lives in Virginia and was arrested on Tuesday.

Mr. Fai is the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington-based group that lobbies for and holds conferences and media events to promote the cause of self-determination for Kashmir. According to the affidavit, the activities by the group, also called the Kashmiri Center, are largely financed by Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, along with as much as $100,000 a year in related donations to political campaigns in the United States. Foreign governments are prohibited from making donations to American political candidates.

“Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose — to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir,” Neil MacBride, the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, said.

“His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”
The F.B.I. said that there was no evidence that any of the lawmakers who received campaign funds from Pakistan were aware of its origins, and it did not name any of the recipients.

However, a search in Federal Elections Commission databases for contributions by Mr. Fai showed that he has made more than $20,000 in campaign contributions over the past two decades. The bulk of his donations went to two recipients: the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Representative Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana.
There's lots more to the Times report so I hope you'll read it in full.

Slowly, bit by bit, truths about Washington's relations with India and Pakistan, and the U.S. prosecution of the war in Afghanistan, are becoming public knowledge, in the manner of a slow descent into a vast network of sewers.

Tuesday, July 19

With one swift jab Wendi Deng Murdoch does more for the cause of women's rights than the United Nations ever did

UPDATE July 20, 8:50 PM EDT
It turns out that there were actually two woman -- an American attorney named Janet Nova is the other -- who foiled the pie attack on Rupert Murdoch. Here is the link to the New York Times report today about Janet's role in the incident. I would like to make what I think is one correction to the report, which says that Janet Nova's actions "may have gone unnoticed in the scuffle and in the media hype that ensued" about Wendi Deng's heroics.

What media hype? At first the news media ignored the incident because the press wanted to focus on Rupert Murdoch's answers in the hearing. They wanted to see him get a beating in Parliament. But when Wendi leaped up to defend her husband, an act shown round the world on TV, the incident immediately went viral because of Twitter comments. It was the people outside the media establishment who pushed the story into the mainstream, until Google News finally caved in and ran the story at the top of its news page late this afternoon.

By the way Wendi is already a cultural hero among women in China because of her act. It's a runaway story, and now that the swift action of another women has come light, the story gets even better.

The would-be assailant after Wendi was finished with him

Photo: Reuters UK

To those who'd say I'm being unfair to the United Nations -- I'm being harsh to make a point. Despite the best of intentions the United Nations approach to women's liberation -- the same approach promoted by the World Bank, the European Commission and a host of 'liberal' democratic governments around the world -- has only served to entrench gender equality by channeling women's outrage at being treated as subhuman into a set piece involving education about human rights, legal edicts and protest marches.

In one magnificent act today Wendi Deng Murdoch exposed what's wrong with the approach and showed that laws and education programs are no substitute for women -- and women who are mothers of female children -- individually demonstrating a healthy sense of moral outrage and personal courage.

That Wendi's act took place in the British Parliament is also highly symbolic. Recently British Prime Minister David Cameron listed what he called "British values." Missing from the list was British common law, which is the backbone of legal systems, including the one in the United States, that historically were in the forefront of making gender equality into law.

Mr Cameron substituted "the rule of law" for British common law so that his list of "British values" was nothing more than a description of European Union values. Cameron did this at a time when the British government continues to look the other way as tribal practices imported by immigrants from regions of the world that treat women worse than dirt have trammeled the British system of law.

That a woman of Chinese heritage, who knows first-hand of the struggle in China for gender equality, swung into action before British lawmakers should, one hopes, be a lesson in courage for the lawmakers to ponder.

Wendi (in pink jacket) before the attempted attack

Wendi in action against her husband's would-be assailant

At the start of what even the News Corp-unfriendly MSNBC TV termed an "inquisition," News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch told the assembled Members of Parliament, "This is the most humble day of my life." His day ended, one should think, as one of the proudest of his life as his wife Wendi made history while going to battle on his behalf. The Guardian describes the incident with relish:

The Murdoch father and son were nearing the end of more than two hours of questioning when there was a sudden commotion. A woman's voice could be heard shouting, "No, no, no!" as the shaving-cream assailant, Jonathan May-Bowles, walked up to Rupert Murdoch, took aim and struck.

Deng lunged while startled police officers were barely off the back foot. While a roomful of male advisers also appeared stunned, she scooped up the paper plate fired at her husband and launched it like a grenade back at May-Bowles, a comedian, with an amazing right hook.

Such was the force of her shot that the foam directed at her husband's face landed on a police officer and on her own blue-painted toes.

Witnesses believed that if it wasn't for that officer she would have continued round the table to finish the man off.[...]
That man, at least from the BBC photo above, is heftier and a head taller than Deng. At 26 he is 16 years her junior. MSBC added these delightful details:

The protester [um, more properly described as the would-be assailant], covered in white foam, was hauled away and the session was suspended.

No sooner had Deng straightened her pink couture jacket and polka-dot pencil skirt, Twitter messages buzzed worldwide, ranging from “Go Wendi!” to “Wendi Deng, Tiger Wife!”

The chairman of the parliamentary committee even commented on her defense skill: "Mr. Murdoch, your wife has a very good left hook" [...]
The chairman, noted another news report, had been one of Rupert's toughest questioners during the grilling session.

The Guardian report also mentioned that Wendi slapped the assailant before giving him a taste of his own shaving cream.

A Reuters report examines how Wendi's bravery, toughness and lightning reflexes could impact News Corp's fortunes in the future and closes with this mention:

Wendi is also credited as producer of the just-released movie "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," a story set in 19th century China about the tough cultural norms imposed on women [based on the New York Times 2005 bestselling novel of the same title].
So in a way she could never have imagined Wendi Deng Murdoch brought more publicity to a movie about gender inequality than a host of PR firms could have managed, catapulted the cause of women's rights into the global spotlight (the parliamentary hearing was being watched by millions around the world), and quite literally struck a resounding blow for all women -- and beleaguered husbands -- everywhere.

The Reuters report also indicates that Wendi's demonstration of toughness wasn't a fluke:

[...] The incident may illustrate how she would fight to protect what is hers and how she may play a key role in the future of the media giant, once control is handed to the next generation of Murdochs, including her two young children.

"That's our Wendi," said Vanity Fair writer Michael Wolff, author of a Murdoch biography.

"She is great -- incredibly full of energy, incredibly intelligent, living the life and just squeezing everything out of it," he said. "She is incredibly ambitious."

The daughter of a factory director in Guangzhou, China, Deng joined News Corp's Star TV as an intern in 1996, shortly after getting her MBA from Yale. She met Murdoch in 1998 when she was a junior executive who acted as his interpreter during a business trip to China. The pair married in 1999 after Murdoch divorced his wife of 31 years.


The couple have two children, Grace and Chloe. Murdoch has four grown children, Prudence from his first marriage and Lachlan, James and Elisabeth from his second.

Lachlan has held key jobs at News Corp but now only sits on the company's board. The company recently bought Elisabeth's television production company Shine, though the deal is being contested by some shareholders, and she is expected to join News Corp's board.

James is a top News Corp executive and until the scandal undermined his position was considered most likely to succeed his father as News Corp CEO.

Wolff said Deng wields some influence at News Corp but the executives "have always tried to keep her out of the way and the kids have tried to keep her at bay."

A few years ago, there were several news reports that she battled Murdoch's adult children to get her children a voting position in the family trust, which holds the Murdoch stake in News Corp, worth billions of dollars.
"Wendi Murdoch may be even smarter than Rupert Murdoch," said New York Daily News gossip columnist Joanna Molloy. "She is no dummy. She is a consigliere to him, she has a self interest. She is very protective of him and very involved."

Tiger Mom Wendi and her children

Brava, Wendi Deng Murdoch! Brava!

Painting a smiley face on a terror-sponsoring regime

Pakistan's next Foreign Minister

July 19, the (U.K.) Independent:
Pakistan is poised to appoint its first female Foreign Minister before almost immediately dispatching her to India for crucial talks due to take place later this month. Hina Rabbani Khar, 34, has been serving as acting Foreign Minister for several months and her elevation was widely expected. [...]
From the rest of the Independent report, I think Khar's critics are being a little unfair to her. Pakistan's civilian and military leaders are scrambling to paint a smiley face on their regime for the benefit of Washington, Brussels, the UN and IMF and for Pakistan's upcoming talks with India. From that limited angle Khar isn't a bad choice. Who cares if her appointment:
... is another glaring example of political patronage. Ms Khar has few, if any, credentials for the top job at the foreign office, even if she appears to have acquitted herself reasonably well as a junior finance minister under [the former leader, President Pervez] Musharraf," said Dr Farzana Shaikh, a fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, based at Chatham House in London. "However, what she does have in spades is the political clout of her family name and the rich, feudal, patriarchal aura that comes with it."
Okay; so she's from a feudal family and okay, these types are the only females in Pakistan with any political power. Khar is also Western-educated (she holds a master's degree in management from the University of Massachusetts) and business oriented (she owns a restaurant in the grounds of the Lahore Polo Club,) and she positively oozes the message that Pakistan's feudal families want to be on better terms with India.

Trouble is, those families don't run things anymore in Pakistan, no more than the mullacrats run things any longer in Iran. The military runs things. As for Pakistan's feudal lords and ladies, they live in fear and with good reason; they step out of line and they know they'll end up like Benazir Bhutto.

So it's only in the last sentence that the Independent report gets down to brass tacks:
A perhaps even greater test will be the way [Khar] deals with Pakistan's military, which has always traditionally controlled key issues of foreign policy, especially in relation to both the US and India.
Khar is not in a position to deal. She's being used by Pakistan's generals to present a face to the world that it feels it can live with. Behind the face is a regime that cannot change at this time in history, and which considers terrorism a legitimate tool of policy, both external and domestic.

Why can't the regime change? Because Pakistani society is in the same boat as Egypt's although they got on board via different ramps. The military now permeates the fabric of both societies. That's why the White House announcement that it was withholding military aid but continuing civilian aid to Pakistan is a joke.

Actually, it was Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff General Kayani who recommended to the U.S. government that it stop aid to Pakistan's military and give the aid instead to Pakistan's civilian sector. He made the recommendation at least twice: during the first U.S.-Pakistani strategic partnership discussions, and after the Abbottabad raid.

Why did Kayani make such a recommendation? Because the Pentagon was putting in too many oversight mechanisms for the military aid and earmarking aid for very specific equipment and projects, whereas civilian aid is very hard for the Congress and State Department to monitor and in many cases simply not doable.

You've heard Pakistani President Zardari called, "Mr Ten Percent" for his alleged skimming from business deals? Well Pakistani's military leaders are Mr 50 Percent although that figure is a stab in the dark; I think several observers would put the estimate much higher.

As with Egypt, Pakistan's military runs so many businesses, has its fingers in so many pies, that no matter what's shown on World Bank and IMF reports, in practice there's not a clear division between the military's business dealings and those in the country's civilian business sector.

Friday, July 15

Bum's Rush

Yesterday I discussed my suspicion that ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha's hastily arranged trip to Washington was actually a last-ditch attempt ahead of the U.S.-India strategic dialogue on Monday to impress on the more impressionable members of Congress that Pakistan has greater strategic importance to the USA than India. Last night Reuters reported that Pasha's meeting at Langley "went very well" according to an unnamed U.S. official, who refused to give details beyond saying, "They agreed on a number of steps that will improve Pakistani and U.S. national security." The report ended with this note:
Pasha had also been expected to meet with the heads of congressional intelligence committees during his visit, but the meeting did not happen because of time constraints, a U.S. source familiar with the visit said.
As I mentioned in the update to yesterday's post, I guess this means the more impressionable members of Congress are not quite as impressionable as they used to be, or have less patience with twaddle since Abbottabad.

In other newsworthy speculations, I suspect State has finally managed to wrestle a muzzle on the Gray Lady; if so, then until she chews through the muzzle we won't have to hear any more howls from Islamabad that the New York Times is picking on Pakistan.

If other major U.S. news media and Washington policymakers had displayed a fraction of the gumption that the Times has done during the past year we'd be in much better shape than we are today regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that's not speculation.

Thursday, July 14

What's the real story behind ISI chief Pasha's latest trip to Washington? (UPDATED July 15)

SecState Hillary Clinton arriving in India, July 2009
Things promise to be even rosier this time around

The (Pakistan) Express Tribune reports today that the Pakistani military's decision to send Inter Services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to meet with acting CIA Director Michael Morell on Wednesday "was reportedly taken at the corps commanders’ meeting on Wednesday, a day after US central command head Gen James Mattis met with top military officials, including the Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The Express also reports:

The back-to-back meetings of military and intelligence officials follow the US administration’s decision earlier this week to withhold $800 million in military aid to punish Pakistan’s security establishment for expelling several dozen alleged American spies operating in the country.

Top Pakistani military commanders on Wednesday said they would use their own resources to carry forward the war on terror in what appeared to be a ‘mild but defiant’ snub to Washington’s move.

According to senior intelligence officials here, Pasha would tell the American spy chief that the ISI has no objection to anti-terror cooperation between the two agencies but would never tolerate a private ‘network’ the CIA is secretly maintaining in Pakistan.

“We are willing to cooperate with CIA in war on terror … but there is no room for a private network. That is our position and we are going to stick to that,” said an official, giving a hint of what would be discussed during Pasha’s interaction with the Americans.

The Pakistani military has been in the process of busting what is described as an underground human network the US established over the past decade.

These local individuals associated with the CIA are believed to have played a critical role in a secret manhunt that led up to the unilateral raid in which bin Laden was killed.

The US administration has been pushing Pakistani spy agencies to release at least several hundred people who were part of the CIA network and the issue is likely to feature during Pasha’s meetings as well.

But officials here said they believed the decision to dismantle these private clusters was final and there won’t be any second thoughts.[...]
The key phrase in the above is "an underground human network the US established over the past decade." Such a network couldn't have been established in Pakistan without the knowledge and tacit agreement of Pakistan's military, which explains why the military was quickly able to roll up so much of the network after the Abbottabad raid.

However, there was no need for Pasha to make a trip to Washington, or Langley, to explain a decision that's already known to the White House and CIA and which surely had already been discussed and debated at length during Mattis's meeting with Kayani. So why, then, would Kayani pack off Shuja to Washington on the heels of the meeting?

I'd venture it's because after hearing what Mattis had to say, Kayani knew that this week was the last opportunity he'd have before the second U.S.-India strategic dialogue to impress on select members of Congress that Pakistan has greater strategic importance to the USA than India. However, the more impressionable members of Congress might not be as inclined to lap up twaddle as in the past given recent developments.

Indian defense industry analyst Ajai Shukla detailed some of the developments in his June 28 report for India's Business Standard:
[T]he pivotal Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has asked the Pentagon to submit by November 1, 2011, a detailed assessment of the current state of US-India security co-operation and a five-year plan for enhancing that.

Noteworthy in itself is the bipartisan belief within the Committee that “it is in the national interest of the US, through military-to-military relations, arms sales, bilateral and multilateral joint exercises, and other means, to support India’s rise and build a strategic and military culture of cooperation and interoperability between our two countries, in particular with regard to the Indo-Pacific region”.

But far more substantive is the SASC’s call on the Pentagon for “a detailed assessment of the desirability and feasibility… [of] a potential US partnership with India to co-develop one or more military weapon systems, including but not limited to the anticipated program to replace the US Air Force T-38 trainer jet”.

This is the first time that the US Congress has officially demanded a report from the Pentagon on the US-India security relationship.[...]
Shukla goes on to note that the fledgling U.S.-Indian defense partnership got off to a rocky start. However, much has changed, even since the first strategic dialogue in June 2010. Round two of the dialogue, taking place in the post-Abbottabad era, promises a reset in thinking on both sides:

Clinton visit: US committed to nuclear deal
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, July 14, 2011

The US on Thursday underlined its commitment to full civilian nuclear cooperation with India as the two countries look to expand their counter-terror cooperation and discuss ways to stabilise the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan region at their second strategic dialogue here next week.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touches down here July 18 on a three-day visit that also includes a trip to Chennai, the hub of top-billing American investments.

Clinton will hold the second India-US strategic dialogue with external affairs minister SM Krishna in New Delhi on Tuesday that will encompass a broad spectrum of issues ranging from counter-terrorism and security to civil nuclear cooperation, defence and closer cooperation in science and technology.

She will also meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

On the table will be the fate of the landmark India-US nuclear deal that has become a shade complicated following the Nuclear Suppliers Group's new guidelines adopted at its meeting in the Netherlands last month. The new norms effectively ban the export of enrichment and reprocessing technologies (ENR) to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“We want to implement all agreements which include 123 (bilateral civil nuclear pact) and waiver (granted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in September 2008). No doubt nuclear issue will be discussed,” US Charge d’Affaires A. Peter Bulreigh told reporters here ahead of Clinton's visit.

“As far as the US is concerned, it will fully implement agreements made and move forward…and American companies will have contracts like other countries,” he said.

Clinton is likely to reassure India that the new guidelines will not impact the clean waiver granted by the 46-nation nuclear cartel to India in September 2008 that reopened the doors for global nuclear commerce for New Delhi after a hiatus of 34 years.

Clinton is also expected to share Washington's outreach efforts to help India become a member of the top four multilateral nuclear export regimes, including the NSG, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The US diplomat stressed that the US has removed most of Indian entities from the export control list and assured that the existing barriers in the way of high-tech trade will come down soon.

Counter-terror cooperation will be high on the agenda, an issue that has acquired added piquancy following July 13 Mumbai serial blasts that killed 17 people and injured over 130.

US Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and Deputy Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute will be among those accompanying Clinton to India. They will be discussing issues relating to intelligence-sharing and deepening of counter-terror cooperation.

Terming the [serial terrorist blasts in Mumbai on July 13, 2011] as "despicable", Clinton has made it clear that she would go ahead with her visit to New Delhi for the strategic dialogue and said it is more important than ever to stand with India in the struggle against terrorism.

Issues relating to the stability of Afghanistan-Pakistan region will also figure prominently in the talks.[...]
UPDATE July 15
Reuters reported last night:
"The discussions today between General Pasha and the acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency went very well," a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. "They agreed on a number of steps that will improve Pakistani and U.S. national security," the official said, without disclosing any more details.
At the very end of the report Reuters noted:
Pasha had also been expected to meet with the heads of congressional intelligence committees during his visit, but the meeting did not happen because of time constraints, a U.S. source familiar with the visit said.
So he got the Bum's Rush, huh? Well I guess this means the more impressionable members of Congress are not quite as impressionable as they used to be, or have less patience with twaddle since Abbottabad.

Friday, July 8

America's Light Footprint Era (Revised)

Regarding the revision, kindly see the note at the end of this post.

Zenpundit's Mark Safranski, who read the tea leaves correctly about the limitations of POPCOIN (population-centric counterinsurgency) tactics in Afghanistan, has, I believe, done it again in his latest post, The Tip of a Shadowy Spear . If you want to know what the newly-minted U.S. counterterrorism strategy will look like on the military end, and how the newest phase of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan is shaping up, read Mark's essay.

Mark concludes with the observation, "America is headed into the Light Footprint Era, ready or not."

The light footprint will require heavy reliance on special forces and thus, the title of his post. What happens, however, when the tip of the military's spear (special forces) becomes part of the shaft, as the lighter U.S. footprint will demand? Mark's analysis isolates the major downsides of the approach and in this passage raises questions that extend far beyond battle tactics:
Thirdly, an emphasis on a special forces dominant force structure may have the unintended consequence of causing the executive branch civilian officials to move even further away from strategic thinking and incline them more toward reactive, tactical, retaliation.

Misuse of special forces is the American historical norm. Special forces are so well suited for “emergency use” that they are frequently employed for every “priority” mission except those that are intended to have a strategic effect, even when a regular military unit of combat infantry is more than adequate for the task at hand (Or for that matter, using non-military options!) [...]
Although the writing is primarily addressed to the defense policy community and makes use of military terms, the general reader will only need to surmount a few acronyms to understand the ideas put forth. ("AVF" simply means an all-volunteer force, as the U.S. military has today.) But because Mark invokes two terms (FID and mass) that have more than one interpretation (e.g., different branches of the U.S. military have different standardized definitions of what constitutes mass) and branch into somewhat complex concepts, I wrote to ask that he explain what he meant by the terms in the context of his discussion. He replied:
I meant "mass" in the simple terms of large, conventional, deployments as we have in Afghanistan and had in Iraq. [...]

Foreign Internal Defense (FID) are the training and advisory missions and military aid programs extended to other countries facing insurgencies. US special forces, usually Green Berets, teach, train and advise allied armies and police in unconventional warfare, COIN and special forces tactics but do not take a leading combat role as in COIN campaigns. FID missions are quiet, cheap and small in terms of personnel. COIN campaigns feature US forces doing the above but taking a major combat role until the allied forces can assume the burden themselves (Vietnamization).

COIN has a checkered and fiercely debated historical record. Why do we keep doing it? Because the alternative at the moment of decision is usually the collapse of the ally and that involves a hard strategic assessment of the ally's worth, which seldom happens. Easier to punt and play for time.
NOTE -- 2:45 PM ET

Mark doesn't read tea leaves of course, nor (to my knowledge) does he have a functioning crystal ball; he does have excellent powers of observation, which led him to spot several trends that have building for many months and note how these were starting to converge. The result in my opinion is the clearest picture available to the general reader of how U.S. warfare is evolving to meet the challenges of the present era.

Yet the picture has so many wider implications that it's almost impossible to resist the temptation to use it as a springboard for many policy and philosophical discussions. Mark himself, as I indicate above, didn't resist reading in a few implications. My response to the essay was to ruminate so much on the wider implications that my original title for this post was, "East of the Danube" lol. (Don't ask.)

I finally chopped down my discussion to one paragraph, which I've now decided to delete even though I'm fond of it and will probably re-deploy it in a future essay. I did this because Mark has written an important essay, one that deserves to be studied on its own merits before hanging all number of glittering ornaments on it.

Tuesday, July 5

By December up to 75 percent of U.S. military supplies for Afghan War will not be shipped through Pakistan

Passengers boarding a Tashkent-bound train in Termez, the Uzbek station nearest the Afghan border, June 25. Soon trains from here will be going to the Afghan cities of Hairatan and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Photo: Maksim Yeniseyev

As recently as 2009, the U.S. military moved 90 percent of its surface cargo through Pakistan ... Today, almost 40 percent of surface cargo arrives in Afghanistan from the north, along a patchwork of Central Asian rail and road routes that the Pentagon calls the Northern Distribution Network. Military planners said they are pushing to raise the northern network’s share to as much as 75 percent by the end of this year.

Whenever I feature an entire report from a news organization rather than quoting a few paragraphs I have strong reasons for doing so, as with the following Washington Post report.

In this case I want to direct your attention to the amount of space that the Washington Post gives to complaints about the human rights abuses of Russia-friendly nations in the northern supply network. I observe with bitterness that if, during the past decade, the U.S. Department of State and "human rights groups" had invested a fraction of the effort in criticizing Pakistan's regime and human rights abuses as they've done in criticizing such nations, the U.S. effort in Afghanistan not to mention Pakistan's human rights/democracy activists would be in much better shape than they are today.

I have the same feelings about the slowness with which the U.S. military has devised alternate transport routes. If only the U.S. public had known as early as 2007 that its tax dollars were going toward helping Pakistan's military murder U.S. troops, it would have raised such a hue and cry that by 2009 -- when the "reset" of U.S. relations with Russia finally allowed the U.S. military to begin using former Soviet republics as alternate supply routes -- there would have been no U.S. supplies transported through Pakistan since then.

That would have given the U.S. a huge tactical advantage in the Afghan War -- one that it threw away with its almost exclusive reliance on Pakistan as a supply route. And the advantage would have helped save God Knows how many Afghans and NATO forces from being killed and maimed by Taliban working under the direction of Pakistani military advisors.

The State Department wasn't interested in tactical advantage; it was interested in expansion of its power. Thus, it found in the success of the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) approach in Iraq a way to increase its budget by applying the approach to Afghanistan. State also saw a bonanza for its contractors (and thereby another avenue to increasing its budget) by pushing for increased USAID projects in Pakistan.

All this meant State had to blind itself to the fact that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism, a democracy in name only, and the primary enemy combatant against NATO forces in Afghanistan. Not to mention the fact that State's pushing for nation building efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan added to the huge amount of non-military stuff that NATO convoys had to haul through Pakistan.

Read USAID's April interview with General John Allen -- now the head of ISAF and U.S. forces in Afghanistan -- for an idea of whether State has turned over a new leaf since the U.S. public learned that Pakistan is conducting a covert war on the United States. When pigs fly will State return of its own cognizance to being only a foreign office.

With regard to the WaPo report's discussion about the poor condition of the railway system in Uzbekistan -- see this June 29 report from Central Asia Online (not to be confused with Asia Times Online) titled, Uzbek-Afghan railway to start running in July. Note that the Asian Development Bank financed much of the vital railway project. And the WaPo report mentions that in February Uzbekistan announced that it had received $218 million loan from Japan to upgrade the line to the Afghan border.

If you ask why the World Bank -- still a U.S.-led organization despite China's great influence there -- didn't finance such loans, go ask the Pentagon and U.S. Department of State to speed-dial their buddies in the 'Get Russia' crowd for the answer. You might also ask State whether any USAID funds ever went to helping Uzbekistan upgrade a portion of their railway system so that U.S. military supplies could be more reliably shipped via that route.

More a logistics nightmare than a "miracle" but by gum the routes skirt Pakistan

Source: National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. By Gene Thorp - The Washington Post

See the following report at the Washington Post website for source links.
U.S. turns to other routes to supply Afghan war as relations with Pakistan fray

By Craig Whitlock
July 2, 2011
The Washington Post

The U.S. military is rapidly expanding its aerial and Central Asian supply routes to the war in Afghanistan, fearing that Pakistan could cut off the main means of providing American and NATO forces with fuel, food and equipment.

Although Pakistan has not explicitly threatened to sever the supply lines, Pentagon officials said they are concerned the routes could be endangered by the deterioration of U.S.-Pakistan relations, partly fed by ill will from the cross-border raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Memories are fresh of Pakistan’s temporary closure of a major crossing into Afghanistan in September, resulting in a logjam of hundreds of supply trucks and fuel tankers, dozens of which were destroyed in attacks by insurgents.

While reducing the shipment of cargo through Pakistan would address a strategic weakness that U.S. military officials have long considered an Achilles’ heel, shifting supply lines elsewhere would substantially increase the cost of the war and make the United States more dependent on authoritarian countries in Central Asia.

A senior U.S. defense official said the military wants to keep using Pakistan, which offers the most direct and the cheapest routes to Afghanistan. But the Pentagon also wants the ability to bypass the country if necessary.

With landlocked Afghanistan lacking seaports, and hostile Iran blocking access from the west, Pentagon logisticians have limited alternatives.

“It’s either Central Asia or Pakistan — those are the two choices. We’d like to have both,” the defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid alienating Pakistan. “We’d like to have a balance between them, and not be dependent on either one, but always have the possibility of switching.”

U.S. military officials said they have emergency backup plans in case the Pakistan routes became unavailable.

“We will be on time, all the time,” said Vice Adm. Mark D. Harnitchek, deputy commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, which oversees the movement of supplies and equipment.

In such an event, however, the military would have to deliver the bulk of its cargo by air, a method that might not be sustainable; it costs up to 10 times as much as shipping via Pakistan.

“We’d have to be a little bit more mindful of what we put in the pipe,” Harnitchek said.

The Defense Department is already boosting the amount of cargo it sends to Afghanistan by air. To save on costs, the military is shipping as many of those supplies as possible to seaports in the Persian Gulf before loading them on planes bound for the war zone.

As recently as 2009, the U.S. military moved 90 percent of its surface cargo through Pakistan, arriving by ship at the port in Karachi and then snaking through mountain passes, deserts and remote tribal areas before crossing the border into Afghanistan. The Pakistan supply lines are served entirely by contractors instead of U.S. military convoys and are vulnerable to bandits, insurgents and natural disasters.

Today, almost 40 percent of surface cargo arrives in Afghanistan from the north, along a patchwork of Central Asian rail and road routes that the Pentagon calls the Northern Distribution Network. Military planners said they are pushing to raise the northern network’s share to as much as 75 percent by the end of this year.

Obama administration officials said they are negotiating expanded agreements with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries that would allow for the delivery of additional supplies to the Afghan war zone. Washington also wants permission to withdraw vehicles and other equipment from Afghanistan as the U.S. military prepares to pull out one-third of its forces by September 2012.

By shifting the burden to Central Asia, however, the U.S. military has become increasingly reliant on authoritarian countries, prompting criticism from human rights groups that the Obama administration is cozying up to dictators.

For instance, more than one-third of the northern-route cargo passes through tiny Azerbaijan, a country saddled by “pervasive corruption,” according to the State Department’s annual human rights report. U.S. defense officials also say the northern supply lines would not be possible without the cooperation of Russia. One new route runs through Siberia.

The biggest potential choke point, however, lies in Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic that borders northern Afghanistan. It previously had kicked the U.S. military out of the country after Washington complained about the killing of hundreds of protesters in 2005.

But as the United States has deepened its involvement in Afghanistan, relations with Uzbekistan have warmed up again. Today, more than 80 percent of supplies shipped along the Northern Distribution Network pass through the country.

Expanded supply lines

The northern routes were developed in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration. Since then, the U.S. government has expanded the network into a spiderweb of supply lines.

Some start at Baltic seaports and run through Russia and Central Asia by rail. Another key line picks up traffic on the Black Sea and funnels it through the Caucasus region. One winding truck route begins at a U.S. Army depot at Germersheim, Germany, and ends, an average of 60 days later, at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. As with the Pakistan routes, the deliveries are all made by contractors.

“If you look at what we’ve done there in the last two years, we look at it more or less as a logistics miracle,” said Alan F. Estevez, the Pentagon’s principal deputy assistant secretary for logistics.

There are two big limitations, however, on what the Pentagon can ship through Central Asia. First, supplies are generally restricted to food, water and construction material; ammunition, weapons and other “lethal” cargo are prohibited.

Also, the routes are strictly one-way. Nothing can be shipped back out of the war zone.

U.S. officials said they are trying to negotiate deals with several countries to remove those restrictions. That will be crucial as the United States withdraws 33,000 troops from Afghanistan over the next 15 months, military leaders said.

Perhaps the most vital section in the northern network is a rail line that crosses south through Uzbekistan and over the Amu Darya river to reach Hairaton, Afghanistan. About five out of every six cargo containers travel this route.

“In reality, Uzbekistan is really at the center of all these routes,” said Alexander Cooley, a Barnard College professor and an expert on U.S. military relations in Central Asia. “They’re certainly in the catbird seat. And they know it.”

The final leg of the Uzbek rail line, from the city of Karshi to the Afghan border, underscores how the U.S. military has been forced to rely on rickety routes to sustain its troops.

In November 2009, U.S. embassy officials in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, were warned by a confidential source that the tracks were brittle and at risk of fracturing if trains carried more than half their usual loads. On top of that, the Soviet-era locomotives carrying U.S. cargo were not designed to cross steep mountains; engineers had to apply the brakes almost constantly as they moved downhill.

“By the time the trains have descended from the mountains, the wheels are glowing red hot,” the embassy reported in a diplomatic cable. The source, an engineer, said he was “appalled by how long it takes to transport anything by rail in Uzbekistan” and that he refused to take the train for fear of a crash.

The cable, titled “Uzbek Rail: Red Hot Wheels to Afghanistan” and obtained by the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks, concluded that “a train wreck is possible in the literal sense.”

U.S. military officials said they knew of no accidents or safety problems on the 200-mile rail segment. In February, Uzbekistan announced it had obtained a $218 million loan from Japan to upgrade the line to the Afghan border.

Human rights concerns

Uzbekistan has been assailed by human rights groups for repression under President Islam Karimov, who has ruled the country since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Freedom House, a Washington-based advocacy group, ranks it as one of the nine worst countries in the world for civil liberties and political rights.

From 2001 to 2005, the U.S. military relied on an Uzbek air base as a hub for combat and supply missions to Afghanistan. U.S. forces were evicted from the base after Washington pressured Karimov to allow an international probe into the deaths of hundreds of anti-government protesters in the province of Andijan.

Since 2008, however, Washington has steadily worked to repair relations. A stream of U.S. military leaders and diplomats has visited Tashkent, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in December and Denis McDonough, the deputy national security adviser, in late May. Uzbekistan, in turn, has reopened its railroads, highways and airspace for U.S. cargo.

Thomas M. Sanderson, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the Obama administration has continued to raise human rights concerns with Uzbekistan but that the Afghan supply routes usually take precedence.

“There is no doubt about it. We are there for one primary reason, and that is to enable our operations in Afghanistan,” said Sanderson, who has studied the Northern Distribution Network.

State Department officials said they do not hesitate to press Uzbekistan to improve its human rights record. When Clinton visited Tashkent, they noted, she made a point of meeting activists and calling for the release of jailed journalists.

“We’ve made a real effort to try to engage Uzbekistan on human rights and in trafficking persons, and in some cases there’s been some progress,” said Robert O. Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia. “This is something that’s in their own interest to do, to allow greater freedom of religion and greater freedom of expression.”

Diplomatic cables, however, show Uzbek officials have not hesitated to demand U.S. restraint on human rights in exchange for cooperation on the supply routes.

In March 2009, shortly after the State Department gave an award to an Uzbek human rights activist, Foreign Minister Vladi­mir Norov made an “implicit threat” to suspend deliveries to Afghanistan, according to a cable signed by Richard B. Norland, the U.S. ambassador in Tashkent at the time.

An angry Karimov also complained to Norland personally.

“Put yourself in my place,” Karimov told the ambassador, according to the cable. “Would you trust me if I had done this?”

In that cable and others to Washington, Norland counseled the Obama administration to check its public criticism of Karimov to maintain the viability of the supply lines. In advance of a visit to Tashkent by a senior State Department official, Norland advised using “private, but frank diplomacy” to cajole Uzbekistan rather than “more openly coercive measures.”

“Uzbek pride often gets the better of rationality and officials here will think nothing of cutting off their nose to spite their face,” Norland added in a July 2009 cable.

The killing of Saleem Shahzad: White House fingers ISI as prime suspect

Visit the Times website for source links in the following report:
Pakistan's Spies Tied to Slaying of a Journalist
by Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt
July 4, 2011
The New York Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Obama administration officials believe that Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ordered the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of militants in the country’s military, according to American officials.

New classified intelligence obtained before the May 29 disappearance of the journalist, Saleem Shahzad, 40, from the capital, Islamabad, and after the discovery of his mortally wounded body, showed that senior officials of the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, directed the attack on him in an effort to silence criticism, two senior administration officials said.

The intelligence, which several administration officials said they believed was reliable and conclusive, showed that the actions of the ISI, as it is known, were “barbaric and unacceptable,” one of the officials said. They would not disclose further details about the intelligence.

But the disclosure of the information in itself could further aggravate the badly fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan, which worsened significantly with the American commando raid two months ago that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistan safehouse and deeply embarrassed the Pakistani government, military and intelligence hierarchy. Obama administration officials will deliberate in the coming days how to present the information about Mr. Shahzad to the Pakistani government, an administration official said.

The disclosure of the intelligence was made in answer to questions about the possibility of its existence, and was reluctantly confirmed by the two officials. “There is a lot of high-level concern about the murder; no one is too busy not to look at this,” said one.

A third senior American official said there was enough other intelligence and indicators immediately after Mr. Shahzad’s death for the Americans to conclude that the ISI had ordered him killed.

“Every indication is that this was a deliberate, targeted killing that was most likely meant to send shock waves through Pakistan’s journalist community and civil society,” said the official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the information.

A spokesman for the Pakistan intelligence agency said in Islamabad on Monday night that “I am not commenting on this.” George Little, a spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency, declined to comment.

In a statement the day after Mr. Shahzad’s waterlogged body was retrieved from a canal 60 miles from Islamabad, the ISI publicly denied accusations in the Pakistani news media that it had been responsible, calling them “totally unfounded.”

The ISI said the journalist’s death was “unfortunate and tragic,” and should not be “used to target and malign the country’s security agency.”

The killing of Mr. Shahzad, a contributor to the Web site Asia Times Online, aroused an immediate furor in the freewheeling news media in Pakistan.

Mr. Shahzad was the 37th journalist killed in Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Pakistan’s civilian government, under pressure from the media, established a commission headed by a Supreme Court justice to investigate Mr. Shahzad’s death. The findings are scheduled to be released early next month.

Mr. Shahzad suffered 17 lacerated wounds delivered by a blunt instrument, a ruptured liver and two broken ribs, said Dr. Mohammed Farrukh Kamal, one of the three physicians who conducted the post-mortem.

The anger over Mr. Shahzad’s death followed unprecedented questioning in the media about the professionalism of the army and the ISI, a military-controlled spy agency, in the aftermath of the Bin Laden raid.

Since that initial volley of questioning, the ISI has mounted a steady counter-campaign. Senior ISI officials have called and visited journalists, warning them to douse their criticisms and rally around the theme of a united country, according to three journalists who declined to be named for fear of reprisals.

Mr. Shahzad, who wrote articles over the last several years that illuminated the relationship between the militants and the military, was abducted from the capital three days after publication of his article that said Al Qaeda was responsible for an audacious 16-hour commando attack on Pakistan’s main naval base in Karachi on May 22.

The attack was a reprisal for the navy’s arresting up to 10 naval personnel who had belonged to a Qaeda cell, Mr. Shahzad said.

The article, published by Asia Times Online, detailed how the attackers were guided by maps and logistical information provided from personnel inside the base.

Particularly embarrassing for the military, Mr. Shahzad described negotiations before the raid between the navy and a Qaeda representative, Abdul Samad Mansoor. The navy refused to release the detainees, Mr. Shahzad wrote. The Pakistani military maintains that it does not negotiate with militants.

Mr. Shahzad prided himself on staying out of the mainstream press, preferring, he wrote in a preface to his recently published book, “Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” to challenge the “conventional wisdom.”

He had submitted articles to Asia Times Online, which claims 150,000 readers, since 2001, when he was a reporter in Karachi uncovering corruption in the public utility, the editor of the Web site, Tony Allison, said.

He broke into the limelight two years ago with an interview with Ilyas Kashmiri, a highly trained Pakistani militant allied to Al Qaeda. Mr. Kashmiri is believed to have been killed in a drone attack in early June.

According to associates, Mr. Shahzad cultivated contacts inside the military and the intelligence agency and members of militant groups, some from his student days in Jamaat Islami, a religious political party.

Some of his stories were threaded with embellishments. Soon after the Bin Laden raid, Mr. Shahzad wrote that Gen. David H. Petraeus visited the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and informed him, an account the White House strongly disputes. Pakistani journalists questioned the authenticity of some of Mr. Shahzad’s reporting: whether those doubts arose from professional jealousy or were well founded was never clear.

But the ISI had been interested in Mr. Shahzad for some time. In an e-mail written to Ali Dayan Hasan, the head of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, which Mr. Shahzad instructed Mr. Hasan to release if something happened to him, Mr. Shahzad gave details of an Oct. 17 meeting at ISI headquarters, where two senior officials in the press section wanted to discuss an article he had written about the release of an interrogated Afghan Taliban commander, Abdul Ghani Baradar.

At the end, Mr. Shahzad said, he had been given what Mr. Hasan said he understood to be a veiled death threat from the head of the press section, Rear Adm. Adnan Nazir. “We have recently arrested a terrorist and recovered a lot of data, diaries and other material during the interrogation,” Mr. Shahzad quoted Admiral Nazir saying. “The terrorist had a list with him. If I find your name in the list, I will certainly let you know.”

In its statement after the death of Mr. Shahzad, the ISI said the agency notifies “institutions and individuals alike of any threat warning received about them.” There were no “veiled or unveiled threats” in the e-mail, the ISI said.

Hameed Haroon, the publisher of Dawn, an English-language newspaper and the head of the newspaper publishers’ association in Pakistan, said that the journalist had confided to him that “he had received death threats from various officers of the ISI on at least three occasions in the past five years.”

It was possible that Mr. Shahzad had become too cavalier, said Ayesha Siddiqa, a Pakistani columnist and author.

“The rules of the game are not completely well defined,” she said. “Sometimes friendly elements cross an imaginary threshold and it is felt they must be taught a lesson.”

The efforts by the ISI to constrain the Pakistani news media have, to a degree, worked in recent days. The virulent criticism after Mr. Shahzad’s death has tempered a bit.

A Pakistani reporter, Waqar Kiani, who works for the British newspaper The Guardian, was beaten in the capital after Mr. Shahzad’s death with wooden batons and a rubber whip, by men who said: “You want to be a hero. We’ll make you a hero,” the newspaper reported. Mr. Kiani had just published an account of his abduction two years earlier at the hands of intelligence agents.

Jane Perlez reported from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting from Washington.